4/12/2008 3:24:00 PM
By SHAUNA BLACK
Vandals killed chicks and up-ended more than 30 nesting boxes at the Kingscote penguin rookery overnight on Thursday last week.
Rookery manager John Ayliffe was notified by police on Friday morning after a report of the damage.
Bewildered and “irritated” by the attack, Mr Ayliffe said the rookery was a community asset and an important part of the tourist attractions on the island.
“We have had minor acts of vandalism before but never on this scale,” he said.
Staff from the Department for Environment and Heritage and the KI Natural Resources Management Board arrived to survey the scene.
Mr Ayliffe said it might be time to call a multi-agency meeting to look at ways to protect the site, perhaps through surveillance cameras.
Shocked tourists visiting the area could not believe that someone could treat the area and the birds with such contempt.
The carcases of four fledgling chicks were found nearby. The whereabouts of seven others remained unknown.
Sergeant Garry Elliott said police had several ideas about who might be responsible.
“Unfortunately that culture of not dobbing in a mate still exists. But really this is beyond normal vandalism.”
He said several other sites had been graffitied and vandalised that night.
Mr Ayliffe said he and others at the KI Marine Centre had tried to keep young people involved at the site, to give them ownership of the community asset and not “go to war with them”.
DEH regional conservator Bill Haddrill denounced the “wanton destruction” and said the attack had damaged the scientific monitoring of the rookery, in which up to 100 chicks had been microchipped this year.
Story and picture courtesy of The Islander @